The aim of this article is to bring less well recognised adverse effects of inhaled corticosteroids to the attention of prescribers. Whilst inhaled steroids have a more favourable side effect profile than systemic steroids, they are not free from adverse effects. The dose of inhaled steroids used should be carefully monitored, and kept at the lowest dose necessary to maintain adequate control of the patient’s disease process. Be particularly aware of the cumulative effect of co-prescribing various dose forms of corticosteroids (inhaled, intranasal, oral and topical preparations).
Naturally occurring glucocorticoids (hydrocortisone and cortisone ), which also have salt-retaining properties, are used as replacement therapy in adrenocortical deficiency states. Their synthetic analogs, such as betamethasone, are primarily used for their anti-inflammatory effects in disorders of many organ systems. A derivative of prednisolone, betamethasone has a 16β-methyl group that enhances the anti-inflammatory action of the molecule and reduces the sodium- and water-retaining properties of the fluorine atom bound at carbon 9.